*Signed Limited Edition of 75 (for each size)
* Framed Giclée Print
* Printed on Hahnemühle acid-free paper, using UV tolerant museum-grade inks.
*Hand Signed by the artist, Hugh Syme
Sometimes, the simplest album covers can also be quite elaborate.
“We wanted to do something less elaborate, where we would take some chances with something more abstract… which is where I came up with the ‘Dalmatian sniffing a fire hydrant.’ I was walking by fire station No. 312 on Yorkville Avenue when I spotted their Dalmatian—no pun intended—and the then-red Toronto hydrant out front,” says Hugh.
The Croatian breed of dog was once employed to run alongside horse-drawn fire carts to help calm the horses. Nowadays, Dalmatians remain firehouse mascots.
Hugh purchased a 20 x 20 roll of AstroTurf, which boasted an even texture and saturated color, as a substitute for real grass. The location for the shoot was home turf: the rooftop above Deborah Samuel’s studio. Toronto’s Department of Public Works loaned Hugh a fire hydrant that he painted cherry-tomato red. (“You wouldn’t believe how heavy it is,” says Hugh.) Hugh placed several dandelions around its base. A dog was enticed to sniff around the fire hydrant by placing dog biscuits beneath it.
It’s a strong image in which the colors, which include the recurring Rush combo of red and black, really pop. Hugh needed to find lettering that would complement rather than compete with the photo. To that end, he wrote the band’s name with a Chinese paintbrush and India ink on watercolor paper. The thick strokes almost create the effect of a Rorschach test in which the blotted ink figures barely resemble letters.
“I remember when Hugh was suggesting this interpretation of the title—not from song lyrics this time, like so many others, but just from the title. It’s a tongue-and-cheek twist on other kinds of signals,” says Neil. “This cover is a smile.”